I told myself previously that when I wrote these letters, I wanted to focus on things that were about you and me. That is, I didn’t want to only have things to say about us as parents as though we don’t have anything else between us other than the Genibean…and the puppy. I have to say however, that I have noticed a trend where you like to share the pain of parenting, perhaps a little unnecessarily.
Now maybe I am being unfair or assigning too much credit for the gestures I feel I am making but when the little miss decides to have a meltdown at 4am, I go into her room and pull the door to whilst I try and calm her down and hopefully get her to sleep. I figure that you need to get up and go to work each day so I try to make it as painless for you as I can. Which I will admit is occasionally not very. Sure, the walls are thin and you can still hear her screaming but I figure that at least I can stop the sound from reverberating around your skull. When you decide to take over however, you have a slightly different approach.
You leave her door wide open to maximize the amount of sound that can be heard in our bedroom. Either that, or you pick her up and bring her into our room to pace with her at the foot of the bed. You talk over her cries with a constant “it’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok” that I unfortunately find quite irritating or occasionally you put on music in the nursery at a much louder volume than I would consider conducive to falling asleep. You also sound like you are trying to engage her in conversation at times and I remember looking at the video on the baby monitor one night and thinking “what the hell are you doing!?!”. I was a little tired.
Now I am quite prepared to acknowledge that I am not a parenting expert. Just because I prefer some approaches or methods does not mean they are better than any others. I don’t necessarily believe things are “right” or “wrong” either and I have seen that different things work for different people. So I try not to criticise your parenting style. I try not to weigh in unless you ask me for my opinion. I make an effort not to interfere in the relationship that you have with your daughter. Believe it or not. On the other hand, how that relationship pertains to me is another matter.
When you are trying to do something nice for me such as attempting to settle her, being in the same room as me is not helpful. Taking a turn so that I can “get some rest” only works when the decibels to which I am exposed are reduced noticeably. And just for future reference, when I am worn out and exhausted, telling me what I cannot or should not be doing is not one of your most endearing traits. When she wakes after two hours for the first time at 4am and I decline to indulge her with a feed lest it become a habit, you coming into her room to inform me that I can’t just cut her off in the middle of the night does not make the situation any easier. I only want to snap back with “you just watch me” or “yes, I bloody well can” which I’m sure would just add more tension to the situation.
So there have been a couple of rough nights this month and both of us have felt a little tender from time to time. It usually hits me like a tonne of bricks around 10 at night, when you have just wound down from your day. For you sometimes it seems that first thing in the morning up until lunch is your don’t-talk-to-me-I’m-having-a-crap-day time. So we’re not exactly in sync on this one. I wish I knew how to make it better for you. You have told me that you are starting to miss things that you would normally not let slip. Due to exhaustion, some things are sliding when they should be sticking. This is not good. We will have to work on that one. I’d say we are obviously going through a period of adjustment at the moment but I have a feeling that this period might actually go on for another 20 years or so…
And that is what came to mind when I sat down to write. That’s not because it’s the only thing that happened this last month but rather that the interrupted sleep has been taking its toll on both of us. Baby brain has ensured that the easiest things for me to remember are how many times she woke last night or whether she is delivering dirty diapers. Remembering what I did yesterday is more of a challenge. Remembering what I did last week is nigh on impossible. Even if it was unusual. And the last four weeks did hold some of the unusual.
During this last month, my dad came up to spend a couple of days holding the Genibean so I could get housework done. His presence also meant however that you and I could go out together. Just the two of us. We haven’t done that since January when we went to see Rodrigo y Gabriela. We didn’t go very far and we didn’t do anything flash or fancy but it was nice to be sans enfant for a while, however brief. Last month also saw the kidlet and I come to visit you at work. At both of your jobs actually. Quite often you will come home for lunch from your weekday job but it was kind of nice for us to bring lunch to you on a couple of occasions. Hopefully your work didn’t mind because clearly, you can be very distracted by your daughter.
Then there was the day this last month that I’m sure you would sooner forget. You know, the one where you were paying slightly more attention to the wii fit than the wee one. The one where she rolled off the couch. Everything turned out fine though and she was none the worse for wear. I couldn’t quite say the same for you as I think you managed to shave a few years off your life there and then but we are all ok. And that’s something we can be thankful for, that after all these months, we’re still all ok. Hopefully that also holds for the next couple of months as we both look to balance developments with careers and family. Whatever happens, we’ll figure it out together.
Your Loving Wife
* Main photo taken of the resident cat at one of the wineries we visited for your birthday. The other photos are obviously you at “work”.